Egypt hits Sinai targets, killing 16 and arresting dozens

2018-02-11 13:56
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Egypt's military has destroyed dozens of targets, killed 16 militants and detained over 30 suspects as part of its latest operation against Islamic militants in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, the army said on Sunday.

Army spokesperson Colonel Tamer el-Rifai said that airstrikes hit vehicles, weapons caches, communications centers and illegal opium fields in the sweep, which began on Friday and comes as a response to a pickup in extremist violence in Egypt.

"The air force targeted and destroyed 66 targets used by terrorist elements to hide from air and artillery attacks," for shelter during raids by security forces, he said in a statement.

The operation, which targets "terrorist and criminal elements and organisations," involves land, naval and air forces from the army and police, and covers north and central Sinai, the Nile Delta and the Western Desert along the porous border with Libya.

The offensive comes ahead of a March vote that will undoubtedly see President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi win a second four-year term, after all serious opponents have been sidelined or driven out of the race.

Al-Sisi, who has waged one of the most sweeping crackdowns on dissent in Egypt's modern history, claims he is the only one who can restore Egypt's security, and ordered the Sinai operation after militants struck.

In November, extremists killed 311 worshippers in a mosque attack in north Sinai, the deadliest such killing in Egypt's modern history, prompting al-Sisi to give security forces a three-month deadline to restore order using "all brute force" required.

But the militants launched another brazen attack in December, firing a missile at a helicopter that was part of the entourage of Egypt's defense and interior ministers, who were in the provincial capital el-Arish on an unannounced visit. Neither minister was in the aircraft when the attack took place but the missile killed an officer and wounded two others.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

Militancy has long been a problem in Sinai, but it spiked dramatically after al-Sisi led the military's 2013 overthrow of elected but divisive Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Violence has been concentrated in north Sinai, but has also spread to the mainland.

Meanwhile, two militant groups that have carried out previous attacks on security forces, denounced the new operation in statements posted online.

The group known as Hasm urged Egyptians to unite against the "traitorous regime" which was "digging its own grave" by "declaring open war on Sinai."

Another group, called Liwaa el-Thawra, said the offensive, involving tens of thousands of troops, was a sign the government was losing control of Sinai, where it vowed to continue it struggle.

Authorities believe both groups, which have been designated as terrorist organisations by Egypt and the United States, to be splinter groups of Morsi's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Read more on:    muslim bortherhood  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.